How do you say "massive PR clusterfuck" in Chinese? That's exactly what one Buick dealership in the Liaoning province is facing after it used the image of a murdered infant in an online advertisement recently.
First, a little background: the people of China are reeling from the shocking murder of two-month-old infant that has come to be known as Baby Haobo. On Monday, a man named Zhou Xijun stole an SUV that was parked outside of a shop and headed for the highway. When he realized that Baby Haobo was in the backseat, he strangled the child and buried him in the snow. According to the BBC, Zhou Xijun gave himself up on Tuesday following a massive manhunt.
The case has sparked significant outrage in China, with many people taking to the Internet to express their grief and anger. Many have to ask how such a horrific act could happen.
And now, much of that outrage has been directed at a Buick dealership in a neighboring province. That dealership used their Sina Weibo account — a kind of Chinese equivalent of Twitter — to publish an ad stressing that their cars have OnStar, which as you know includes a GPS system that allows the lockdown of a stolen vehicle. Here's what they said, according to Brand Channel:
"A few thoughts following the Changchun stolen car incident: When buying a car it's completely okay to choose higher technology. Tianhe Buicks carry the OnStar GPS system, allowing the lockdown of a stolen vehicle at any time and place. An easy heart, a piece of mind, likewise why not buy a completely safe Buick!!!!! Sales Hotline: 024-86547880 86547881 QQ:521279389 2523275273 www.inthbuick.com."
Here's a copy of the full ad, which has since been deleted:
Needless to say, this was crass, in extremely poor taste, and very, very stupid. Though the post was made before it was known that Baby Haobo had been killed, one has to wonder what the dealership was thinking.
Internet backlash against Liaoning Tianhe Buick has been intense. Some users have called for the dealership owner to be flogged publicly. Officials from the dealership have since apologized, saying they deeply regretted the "hurt it had caused to the family of the victims and society."
Somehow, I doubt that will quell the outrage they've sparked by doing this.
Hat tip to SeattleSpud